For forty-five years Chris Burden maintained a quest to challenge perceived boundaries of modern art in an always awe-inspiring manner. He guaranteed his place in art history beginning in 1971, while still a student in Southern California, with a period of often dangerous, at times stomach churning performances. He had himself shot, locked up in a 2x2x3 locker for five days, electrocuted, crucified on the back of a VW bug. Burden reinvented himself as the creator of truly mesmerizing installations and sculptures, from a suspended gigantic flywheel that seemingly spins on its own (and scarily picks up speed) to an assemblage of antique street lights rewired for solar energy and are illuminated outside Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey look at Burden's works and private life with an innovative mix of still-potent videos of his 70s performances, personal videos and audio recordings, friends, fellows students and colleagues, critics' comments (including that of a young Roger Ebert) and latter day footage at his Topanga Canyon studio, all peppered with his thoughts and musings through the years. Burden meticulously explores a complex, ever-evolving individual who became one of the most admired artists of his generation.
- May 5, 2017